Have you ever had a clear sign of who you really are, and then totally ignored it?Maybe it required too much change, or taking a big risk. Maybe you were scared to have to convince a loved one how much you needed this.And so you rationalized that “it wasn’t the right time.”Convinced yourself to “be sensible and put it off for a while.”I know how this feels, because I did it too.
Losing yourself is one of the easiest things to do. One day you’re your fresh, fun, breezy self, listening to all of your favorite music and hitting up the places you feel the most comfortable and the next thing you know, you’re running around the world lost, dating someone you don’t even love and party until you lose your head. Or many more examples like this.
To be true to yourself means to act in accordance with who you are and what you believe.
If you know and love yourself you will find it effortless to be true to yourself.
Just as you cannot love anyone else until you love yourself, you cannot be true to anyone else until you are true to yourself.
Be who you are! Have the courage to accept yourself as you really are, not as as someone else thinks you should be. Do not take action or pretend to be someone else for the sake of gaining acceptance.
Everyone’s journey is unique. And so this is in no way a generic prescription. These things happened to work for me and I share them with the hope that some may help you in your travels as well.
Here are the things I do to make sure I’m not negotiating on my soul. Within reason.
1. Cherish those special friendships.
I had (and still have) friends who knew and loved me unconditionally. This is truly invaluable. Make and keep good friends and be honest with them. They can be your moral compass during stormy times. Not just psychologically, but literally, like in share-her-last-sandwich-while-reading-poetry-on-long-afternoons kind of support.
2. Don’t hate those who stumble; we all do sometimes.
It would have been so easy, and actually it was, to hate my ex boyfriend for a while. But as time passed, I was able to see his side too. Look always from both sides and try to find the reason why some thing happened the way it is.
We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. If you can, forgive and allow compassion into your relationships. It makes the ride more beautiful.
3. Take responsibility for your own life.
This is the beginning of self-esteem. Although stuff happens, ultimately you are responsible for your actions.
When we deeply and utterly understand that to be true, life takes on a whole new meaning. Whatever has happened until the past moment is gone. This present moment is again yours. And you have the power to do whatever you want with it.
4. Have a big vision and keep your goals aligned with your vision.
I struggled with this one for a while. First, I had no big vision. In fact, I didn’t even know what that meant. So my goals and actions went in circles for a while.
Make sure to know what kind of person you want to be and what kind of job/life you would like to lead. Then shape your short-term goals so it is moving you in that direction (or at least not away from it).
5. Remember that death makes life real.
In the words of Steve Jobs, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Death can come at any moment, to any of us. We don’t have forever to be who we are. In fact, we owe it to ourselves and those we love to be truly alive and authentic in each moment. It is the only legacy we can be proud to leave behind.
6. Don’t worry too much about making mistakes.
It is better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all. Think and analyze your decisions carefully, but once you feel reasonably sure you have made a good choice, just trust yourself. Be bold and go forth into the wilderness.
Whatever happens, you will have gained an experience from it that only the courageous can boast of.
7. Know your strengths.
You are unique. There is only one you in this entire universe. No one has exactly your strange and magical mix of genes and experience. Learn what makes you tick. And keep building on that. You will make wonderful things happen.
8. Be kind to yourself.
We all mess up once in a while. When it happens and you finally catch on, drop your ego, admit your mistake fully, and make amends. Learn from it so you don’t repeat that same lesson again. Then forgive yourself and move on. Life is hard and we are not made to be perfect.
9. Be in the moment.
This present moment is alive and full of potential. Learning to be mindful has helped me tremendously by keeping me in my life, as it happens.
Whether you are playing, sleeping, working, lazing, watching TV, or hanging out with someone you love, give your awareness to it 100%. I highly recommend a daily mindfulness practice. It has changed the way I relate to life.
10. Don’t forget to laugh.
It has gotten me through many a sticky situation. And created hours of pure fun. Include as much good humor in your day as legally possible. And that’s a doctor’s order. 🙂
Don’t wait to be who you are. You are special and there is a reason you are on this earth. No matter what your situation is, there is something you can do today to move toward your true self.
Dare to live; your dreams are counting on you.